After an early scare in which Canada’s Men’s U-17 Team conceded first against Caribbean Champions Haiti, they quickly found their feet and picked up a valuable three points to kickstart the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championships.
The team was punished for not burying earlier chances as Haiti struck first just past the half our mark but it was a quick reply to get Canada level before regaining their composure and putting in a solid 90 minute effort to pick up the 3:1 victory.
“With this new format, I think it’s critical that we get three points in our first game. I give Haiti a lot of credit,” said Head Coach Sean Fleming. “I liked some of the things our players did and being the first game, there are some things we have to get better at but overall, I’m quite pleased with the start to the tournament.”
The previous two times that Canada qualified for FIFA U-17 World Cups, they could qualify for the tournament after just three games of the CONCACAF Championships.
This time, however, it could take five games just to put Canada into the position to qualify for the tournament with a sixth potentially required to accomplish that. So one win is a good start, but there’s still no margin for error as a tough Central American foe in Costa Rica is next on the horizon on Tuesday.
“The teams are quality (in this group) and I think the having players with confidence can only help,” said Fleming. “I was happy with how our players came through the 90 minutes, physically. But we know there’s a lot of work ahead. We’ve seen Costa Rica. We know they’re a very good side and we’re going to have to be at our very best in our preparation to have a game with them. “
In a tournament such as this, depth is going to be key to success and with a number of players showing positively on the field on Saturday, it’s certainly a result to build on.